Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Running in Burley in Wharfedale

A cracking run this morning across frost covered fields around the Yorkshire village of Burley in Wharfedale.  The temperature hadn't even risen above freezing, but I dragged Martin out at nine for an hour long loop around the outskirts of Burley in Wharfedale.  The harsh frost had solidified the muddy fields that we had walked upon the previous day, making for more pleasant running.

We took off past the station, up Hag Farm Road, passing the farm on the gentle incline, before cutting onto the fields.  There is a wonderful network of footpaths alongside the fields around Burley and I could have run for hours this morning.  We dropped back onto the road into Menston, before turning back alongside the railway line for the return to Burley, grabbing a paper in the village before heading into the nature reserve at the end of Sun Lane.  Here we looped around the former landfill site, now a lovely secluded spot, with a few dog walkers and bird watchers out enjoying an early morning walk.

A great 15 kilometre walk from Burley, which we made the previous day, heads up Sun Lane and across the railway, then straight up boggy fields (no gentle warm up here).  We carried on along field edges to Moor Road, for the short but brutal climb (it might have been sunny but the freezing air was biting into my lungs) onto Ilkley Moor.

We followed the edge of the Moor, with clear views across the valley to the right, pausing briefly at Cow and Calf rocks, then heading up and through the suddenly silent Rocky Valley.  The moor had been busy with walkers and runners, despite the cold, but now felt quiet and isolated.  We continued to skirt the moor above Ilkley and, as usual making at least one navigational error, ended up dropping down too off the moor too soon.  Neither of us having much enthusiasm for ascending again (I must be getting old), we agreed to start heading towards our destination of Addingham.  There are so many footpaths here it really didn't matter which one we took as long as it headed downhill.

Off the moor, the paths were boggy again and at times I think we were walking in streams rather than alongside them.  We pushed on alongside the river out of Addingham towards Bolton Abbey.  It is a lovely riverside walk here, heading upstream with the River Wharfe on your right, but it was a mistake to get back onto Bolton Road to cut off a corner as the river meanders.  Its just too busy with cars and narrow for pleasant walking.  It is well worth continuing to the impressive Bolton Abbey (starting point for many further walks) and with some fun stepping stones across the river, although the stones were underwater today.

See a map of the run and the walk.